Thursday, April 05, 2012

Sacred Emigration


By: Khalid Mahmood

IslamiCity* -

Emigration is an important phenomenon in human history. Besides its general
relevance to the establishment of civilizations, it has special significance in
connection with the 'holy ones', those chosen to carry light throughout the
world.First of all, every individual is a traveler and therefore, in
some sense, an emigrant. His journeying starts in the world of spirits and
continues through the stations of his mother's womb, childhood, youth, old age
and his grave, and from there to a completely new world, Although he is among
millions of people, each individual is born alone, lives his own life. endures
his own death, and will be resurrected alone, Likewise, each of those men of
high stature who throughout history have guided mankind started his sacred
mission from his single self, then disseminating light from the torch be carried
and illumining the minds and hearts of others, inculcating hope and faith in his
followers and transforming the lands once submerged in darkness into pools of
light. And each one of these guides had to emigrate from one place to another
for the sake of his cause.Belief, emigration and holy struggle are the
three pillars of a single, sacred truth. They are the three 'taps' of a fountain
from which the water of life flows for the 'holy ones' to drink from so that
they may convey their message without being wearied, and, when the opposition is
too formidable to overcome, set out for a new land without regard for their
home, property or family.However sacred the cause, however useful and
original the thoughts or brilliant the message, those who hear it for the first
time are naturally bound to question and oppose it. For this reason, the one who
wants to arouse the people to new sentiments, new faith, new love and new ideas
must, either persist in his mission in his homeland in the face of all kinds of
resistance, or set out for new minds and hearts to pour out his inspirations, to
offer his message.
Every new idea or message has always been resisted where it has appeared, and
those who have offered it have usually been welcomed in new places where their
pasts were unknown. It is for this reason that the fate of the 'holy ones' is
almost the same: they begin with belief and love, followed by struggle against
the deviation and error of the masses, and then comes the turn of emigration for
the sake of the well-being of mankind, even at the cost of sacrificing their own
homes and families.In every movement of revival, prior to emigration,
two stages are of great importance. In the first stage, a man with a cause
develops his character, overflows with belief and is inflamed with love, and
surpassing his own self, grows into a passionate slave of The Truth, He
struggles, in this stage, against the temptations of his carnal self to build
his genuine, spiritual character. This is called 'the major or greater
struggle'Ñ al-jihad al-akbar. Then he rises, in the second and stage, to radiate
the lights of belief to the world around him, this stage is, in fact, the door
to emigration.Emigration should not, of course, be understood only in
the material sense. Rather, a man experiences emigration throughout his life in
the spiritual sense. Each inner intellectual or spiritual transformation, from
indolence to action, from decay to self-renewal, from suffocation in the
atmosphere of sinfulness to exaltation in the realm of spirit, may be regarded
as an emigration. It is my conviction that only those who have been able to
actualize these inner emigrations can find in themselves the strength and
resolution to leave their homes and families for the sake of a sublime ideal. It
is almost impossible for those who have not succeeded in emigrating' from the
carnal self to the realm of spirit, from the pomp and luxury of the world to the
riches of intellect and spirit, and from the pleasures of selfhood to an
altruistic life, to emigrate for the good and welfare of
humanity.Emigration with its two dimensions, spiritual and material, was
first represented by the great Prophets, Abraham, Lot, Moses and Jesus, upon
them be peace, who shone like suns, on the horizon of humanity, and in its most
comprehensive meaning and function, was realized by the greatest of them, namely
the Prophet Muhammad, who is the pride of mankind, upon him be peace. The door
to emigration has since been open to all those who would walk in his
footsteps.Emigration in the way of Truth and for its sake is so
sanctified that the community of holy ones around the Last Prophet, who
sacrificed their possessions and souls for the sake of the cause they believed
in, and of the matchless representative of that cause, were praised by God as
(and have since been called) 'the Emigrants'. We can see its importance in the
fact that the beginning of the sacred era of this holy community was marked, not
by the birth of the Prophet or by the first revelation or such victories as Badr
or the conquest of Makka, but by the emigration to Madina.
Every individual who has emigrated for the sake of a sublime ideal will
always deeply feel the pressure of the ideal which urged him to emigrate and
design his life according to that ideal. Secondly, be will be freed from the
criticism regarding some faults he might have made in childhood or youth.
Whereas, in his own land, be is probably remembered and criticized for past
faults, and has little influence upon people because, besides the factors
mentioned, he is an already familiar one in his society, in the land he has
emigrated to, be will be known for his spiritual brilliance, unadulterated
ideas, pure intentions and extraordinary sacrifices. For these and other
reasons, it has almost always been emigrants who changed the flow of history and
started new eras in the life of humanity.Toynbee, the renowned British
historian, mentions twenty-seven civilizations founded by nomadic or migrant
peoples. This is because no one can overcome such dynamic people. They are not
habituated to ease and comfort, are ready to sacrifice everything worldly, used
to every kind of hardships, and always ready to march wherever their cause
requires them to go.The 'holy ones' around the Last Prophet, who were
elevated from the darkness of ignorance and savagery to become the founders of
the most brilliant civilization in human history and the first teachers of a
universal religion, which is still the hope of mankind for a happy future, set
the best example in this matter for those coming after them. Those who later
walked in their footsteps found ease and serenity in fighting with difficulties,
and found vigor and life in despising death and everything worldly, and eternity
in constant renewal in thought, spirit and action. They migrated from land to
land to convey knowledge, morality and civilization everywhere that they
settled.It is incumbent upon us to save the young generation from
indulgence and attachment to the comfort of life, and in doing so to equip them
with lofty ideals so that they know how to suffer with the pains and sorrows of
mankind. It is only when this is accomplished to a significant degree that our
old world will be able to witness an over-all

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